Sunday, December 25, 2011

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Season's Greetings!



As a favour, I photographed a warm and cozy apartment that a friend of mine decked out for the Christmas holidays. I used my X100 and my GH2 with either the 7-14mm f/4 zoom for the wide shots, or the Leica 25mm f/1.4 for the tight shots. See the gallery here...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

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Review: Lowepro Classified Sling 180AW

Read my review on a recently acquired camera bag, here on the Beau Photo blogs...

http://beauphoto.blogspot.com/2011/12/review-lowepro-classified-sling-180-aw.html

The short version? I quite like it...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Van Dusen Festival of Lights


A Beau Photo Supplies staff outing to the Van Dusen Festival of Lights. Click on the image for the full gallery with 40 photos...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

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Snow, fall colours and a few eagles...

Today I took a drive east, up the Fraser Valley with my friend Bill. My goal was to find some fall colours but it quickly became obvious that it was already too late in the year for that, so we decided to drive all the way out to the Eagle Festival near Harrison Mills. Well actually, in the end we drove all the way past Hope and up the Fraser Canyon a short way, hoping for some really snowy mountains, but alas we lost the light there pretty quickly. We just made it back along the Lougheed Highway, opposite Mt. Cheam, in time for the above photo with the last rays of daylight hitting the peak.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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In search of fall colours?


My friend Bill and I decided to hike up the west side of Gold Creek in Golden Ears Park this last weekend. The east side has large areas of deciduous tress and bushes that were likely looking quite colourful. Sadly all we managed to find west of Gold Creek was moss...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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Gallery: Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 Tests


This gallery contains my first quick tests of the new Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens. I wandered around for a few minutes while on my lunch break and snapped these quick test photos...

Gallery: Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 Tests

Sunday, October 16, 2011

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Gallery: Fall colours at UBC...




On a beautiful (but cool) fall day today, I wandered around UBC for a few hours, taking in the colours of the changing leaves.

Gallery: UBC Fall Colours

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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Gallery: Maissanne Bellydance



A photo shoot I did for my friend Maissanne, a teacher by day and a bellydancer by night. Click on the above image for a gallery with 40 of my favourite photos I chose after quickly going through all the images from the shoot. She will be choosing photos from this session for a future update to her website.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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An evening with the Nikon P7100

I finally had some time to shoot with the CoolPix P7100, other than time-lapse, and took it down to Granville Island in the evening to test its high ISO, its VR and is low-light focus. For a P&S, its high ISO shooting was quite impressive and I am happy to report that virtually all the issues I had with the original P7000 have been addressed. Not that the original P7000 had any issues in the image quality department, but it had a terrible AF mechanism that had a hard time locking on in low light or even in good light sometimes, if the contrast was low.

The P7100 nailed the focus time and time again. Although it slowed down a bit in really low light, it pretty much always seemed to lock focus... at least as well as any other high end P&S I've used.

Almost all of the UI sluggishness and quirkiness is gone and the shot-to-shot time for RAW shooting seems improved too. The new front mounted control wheel works nicely as well. Anyway, this is now a very worthy contender for the top high-end-raw-shooting-P&S title!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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Time-lapse: Prince George to Maple Ridge


A time lapse movie shot from inside a rental minivan, coming back from a PPOC-BC trade show in Prince George. A Nikon P7100 was mounted to a passenger side hand-grip with a Gorillapod. The camera was set to time-lapse mode, taking one shot every 30 seconds and the resulting frames are played back at 10 fps in this video. Unfortunately the battery died before we got all the way back. However, still very impressive battery life! The camera was running for over 9 hours straight and took about 1100 frames.

Music is an excerpt from the song "Speedbumps" by Sounds from the Ground. (iTunes Link)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

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Random Post: Yes Watch


While going through some older images, in preparation for an Adobe Lightroom training seminar I'm teaching this weekend, I came across images of my Yes Watch that I bought some time ago. I had intended on doing some sort of a "review" of this watch but never got around to it. I likely won't be putting one up that is super detailed, but thought I'd post a quick note since this watch is a very interesting timepiece for the photographer or filmmaker.

Firstly, Yes watches are certainly not inexpensive, but they are uniquely functional and very well made. Mine, a slightly modified 'Inca' model, is made of solid titanium, case and band, and has a sapphire crystal with antireflection coatings. It is water resistant to 10 atmospheres (300 feet) as well. Check out the amazing kit you get (the above photo) when you buy one one of these. Not only does it come in a gorgeous, thickly lacquered wooden display box, but you get three watch bands (rubber, leather and titanium), spare link pins with a link removal tool, spare spring pins and a spring-pin pick tool. You can see I removed one link to make the watch fit my wrist better.

What makes it so interesting is the fact that it graphically shows the amount of daylight and darkness in the current 24 hour day, and with its single 24 hour hand, it shows precisely where in the day/night cycle one currently is. Of course this lets you read the sunrise and sunset times as well. It also shows the same data for the moon in a narrow ring surrounding the main day/night display. Their website, linked to above, has more detailed info if you want to know more about all the functions.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

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Germany: Föhr - the last day...


I am bouncing around a bit with these entries from my Germany trip. This evening I was preparing to email some images of her studio to my aunt on Föhr, and I just decided to post a gallery of images from the last day on the island instead. The first image of my 80 year old aunt Ruth was taken with the wickedly sharp Leica (Panasonic) 25mm f/1.4 lens again, at ISO 640 on my GH2... too sharp for a portrait really. I hope she doesn't mind too much! Most of the tighter shots in the gallery, such as the one above, were taken with the 25mm lens as well.

The last day on Föhr was relaxing. We spent a lot of time with my aunt, and I took some photos in her attic studio, which had a lot of her sculptures, many quite unusual, and her watercolour paintings on display. Click the image above to visit the gallery.
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A New Look!

You might notice a slight change to the look of this blog! I want to be sure to direct people back to the main Beau Photo store blogs page, so I decided to change the banner and remove the Beau logo. That way hopefully people won't think they are on the official Beau blog for some reason.

I also added a "Looking for Beau Photo content?" section that will appear above the regular blog postings for the next month or so, helping to direct traffic destined for Beau Photo to the real Beau blogs.

Lastly, since I was making a new banner anyway, I also took the opportunity to widen the layout a tiny bit. Without going into technical details, this will make it way easier to post images that are optimally sized to fit the exact width of the blog entries. You'd think that Blogger would have some sort of "fit width" command for images, but no. I had to essentially manually edit the HTML for every post that contained a horizontal (landscape) format image! The Blogger image presets either made for an image that was way too small, or one that was just a little too big. What a pain! I also made sure to make the Beau Photo blogs wider from the get-go, to make it easier for people to post images.

Anyway, I hope you like the new banner and slightly wider content. This change will make it much easier to post a quick blog entry in the future too!

Friday, September 23, 2011

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New: Beau Photo Supplies Store Blogs!


Effective immediately, I will be changing the tack of new postings on this blog. I created this as an experiment originally, wanting to see how well received a Beau Photo information and announcement blog would be. In addition, I wanted to experiment with blogging my own images and gallery content on a more regular basis, versus less frequent website updates. Heck, my website is, at the moment, horribly out of date, finishing at the end of 2009 as far as image gallery content goes!

Anyway, this blog has been quite well received by Beau Photo customers so far, and despite the minimal "followers" that are visibly subscribing, I know there are many more checking it out on a regular basis. The feedback has been very good overall, so I have created a new store-wide Beau Photo Blog, with a permanent link in the Pages section on the right as well. From this point forward, this blog will simply be about items of personal interest, image galleries, trip blogs, photo projects, announcements of updates to my website and so on. Beau Photo content will be minimized here and the vast majority will be posted directly to the Beau Photo blog in the future.

At this point, I am not sure how feasible it will be to move my existing Beau Photo related postings to the new blog. Not very possible, as far as I can tell, at least not without an enormous amount of work. I will probably create a filtered link back to this blog from the Beau Photo blog and I may remove all the Beau Photo related categories from here as well, to avoid the clutter - In Stock at Beau, Rebates, Sales and so on. Those categories will no longer be relevant to future content I post here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

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Germany: Park Wilhelmshöhe Wasserspiele


I'm back home of course, and this weekend I'm working on lots more images from my trip. I thought I would post a few here, rather that wait longer for some image galleries to be ready...

Park Wilhelmshöhe is in Kassel, my father's hometown. Twice a week, this 300 year old park has Wasserspiele, which in English maybe could be called a water festival or waterworks? Basically, there is a large reservoir on top of the 750 foot high hill where the Hercules statue is situated (above photo), and valves are opened letting water down a series of manmade falls, a reconstruction of a Roman aqueduct and more.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

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Germany: At the airport...

The last week in Kassel, and then in Frankfurt, had frustrating Internet access in the hotels. Surfing was fine, fast even, but upload speeds were a joke. I was getting around 50 bytes/sec speeds. That's BYTES, not kilobytes! There was no point in trying to update the blog with images or image galleries. Kassel wasn't quite as bad but it seemed as though I ran out of time every night as far as updating the blog.

Anyway, the three weeks went by too quickly as usual. We drove about 4000km in the BMW turbo-diesel wagon. Average fuel consumption was around 7.2 l/100km. Considering that my Autobahn cruising speed was generally about 150-180 km/h, I'd say that is pretty impressive. One one leg of constant 160km/h it averaged around 6.8. I hit 220 in the BMW for a short stretch but didn't want the stress of driving that fast for too long.

I am all "schnitzeled out" too. An amazing variety of good food, good pastries and German beer means I definitely need to cut back after I return!

Friday, August 26, 2011

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Germany: Island of Föhr - Day 1


Click here (or on the above photo) for a gallery of images from the first day on the island of Föhr in the North Sea. Geotagging is active for most images, but unfortunately I forgot to take the GPS tracker out of the car for the ferry ride and so those photos are not tagged. Wonderful and relaxing is how one can describe life on this little island. It really is far less hectic feeling than the other areas of Germany we visited, although Bavaria had a similar feel to it. The wonderful thatch roof houses are great subjects to photograph as well!

We have been lucky with the weather although a big thunder storm just rolled through and I'm not sure if the weather will recover later this evening still. I will incorporate today's images into a future gallery, unless I end up shooting a ton more later, although again, that seems unlikely at the moment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

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Germany: Days 4-6 - Zugspitze & Alpspitze

A small stone church partway down from the Zugspitze summit

Here is a link to the gallery with images from our two full days in Bavaria, visiting the highest point in Germany, the Zugspitze (2962 meters) and the neighbouring Alpspitze. Technically we never did reach the Alpspitze (2628 meters), rather we were at about 2100 meters at the viewpoint, so a long way from the actual summit. Click on the image for the gallery too...
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Germany: Zugspitze Time-Lapse


Short time-lapse movie I hacked together, with the first sequence from my hotel room in Grainau and then the next day from the top of Germany's Zugspitze at 2960 meters (9700 feet), the highest point in the country.

Music clip from the song Reaktion by Carbon Based Lifeforms.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

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Germany: The Abbey at Ottobeuren


Well, this is actually day 7 already, and we just got back from the Alps. On the way back to Reutlingen, we took a slight detour to see the Benedictine Abbey at Ottobeuren. I have a fast, free and reliable Internet connection and decided to post a gallery of images from today, out of sequence but I wanted to get something else up before hitting the sack. Tomorrow afternoon (for me), I will follow up with a gallery of pictures from the Alps, specifically the Zugspitze, the highest point in Germany at 2960 metres, and also the Alpenspitze... plus a few I took at a Bavarian folk fest. For lots of photos inside the extraordinary abbey, you can either click here for the image gallery, or on the above photo.

For a preview of what the next image gallery will contain, here is one shot I took of the main Zugspitze building after climbing to the actual highest point. The weather in the Alps was absolutely perfect for taking photos - I have been very lucky on this trip so far...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

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Germany: Days 2 & 3


For a quick gallery of images from days 2 & 3 here in Germany (yesterday and the day before for me), click on the above image, or click here. No time for much in the way of explanation or reporting. Suffice to say the beer, coffee and food is great over here! Driving is generally a blast. People over here sure know how to get around quickly and if they are slower, they get out of the way fast! I had no Internet yesterday and I am not sure how the next few days will go, but I will update the blog when I can. That's it for today, now it's off to the German Alps...

Monday, August 15, 2011

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Germany: Day 1

Typical German countryside as seen from Burg Hohenzollern

Greetings from Deutschland! Well, despite being severely jet-lagged and fatigued, I thought I had better post something before hitting the sack. I was up for nearly 35 hours yesterday (flight day), and after only 6 hours of sleep last night, today was still tiring.

Before I get into the photos, I wanted to mention that a massive stroke of luck delivered a small shipment of Panasonic's new autofocus Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 Summilux DG lenses to Beau Photo on Friday, my last day at work before flying to Germany on Saturday. Although the shipment caused my bank account to get lighter yet again, once I decided to take one of the lenses and shot some tests with it, I was ecstatic that I was able to secure one before my trip. Many of the photos following were taken with it. And yes, there are more available in stock at Beau Photo now! If you are a Micro-Four-Thirds shooter, this lens definitely deserves a look!

Monday, August 8, 2011

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August 2011: New Canon Rebates

Wow, check out that $200 instant rebate on the 5D Mark II! We actually have inventory at the moment as well (bodies and kits), so don't miss out on this great offer, or on some of the others either...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

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Lizard Woman

(click image for full gallery)

Amazing makeup and prosthetic work by Lisa Bradley! A makeup job that was inspired by some lizard photos I had taken in Death Valley a few years back. The lovely model is Emily Backman.

Calling this a "makeup job" though, doesn't even begin to hint at the tremendous amount of work Lisa did, not only in applying the prosthetics and makeup to Emily on the day of the shoot, but also in the months of preparation, creating the prosthetic moulds and casting all the many small ridges, bony protrusions, horns and spikes. Emily started having the makeup applied at 5am, which took many hours to complete. Then she and Lisa spent the day at a makeup trade show and finally in the evening, after 7:30pm, we did a very quick shoot for about an hour and a half and a couple of different locations. Emily still had an amazing amount of energy at the end of the day, even after wearing this outfit for over 12 hours.

The images were all shot with my EOS-7D and any additional lighting was simply supplied by one or two 430 EXII flashes on radio slaves. No light diffusers were used as I wanted dramatic shadows to really bring out the amazing texture on these prosthetics.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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X100: We have one in stock...

[Update: It's gone now...]

For the first time since Fujifilm started shipping the X100, we are actually caught up on pre-orders and have one in stock, ready and waiting for the next lucky customer who wants one! I have put it in our showcase, so I don't expect it will last too long.

We also have genuine Fujifilm NP-95 batteries in stock. However we are not yet caught up on the hood/filter-ring kits unfortunately, nor the premium leather cases...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Art Wolfe: Vancouver Seminars

Click image for a larger, more readable version!

The dates are fast approaching. If you want to experience Art Wolfe's inspirational seminars, please hurry and register! Registration and information links for his site here...

Art Wolfe: Between Heaven and Earth (August 6th)

Art Wolfe: The Art if Composition (August 7th)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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Silent Auction Supporting Cancer Research

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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Pocket Wizard, Sekonic and Dynalite Workshop!


For more information on this exciting workshop at Langara College on Thursday, July 7th, please check out the PDF linked here: Lorenzo Gasperini Workshop Info

You can also email Ken Shymka at Beau Photo for more information, or just to register.
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Panasonic GH2: Review

Panasonic Lumix GH2 with 7-14mm f/4 Lens

Over the next few days, this blog entry is going to be updated with a review of the GH2 and a variety of different lenses, including the 7-14mm, the 14mm f/2.5 and 20mm f/1.7 "pancake" lenses, the 14-140mm f/4-5.8 Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization), the 45-200mm f/4-5.6 Mega O.I.S. and the 100-300mm f/4-5.6 Mega O.I.S.

While I have no intention of generally replacing my Canon EOS-7D system with a Panasonic system, because I was looking for a smaller and lighter kit with some lens versatility (and good image quality) for my upcoming trip to Germany later in the summer, I indeed did go and buy a GH2 and a variety of lenses for myself.

I am also planning to take my Fuji X100 to Germany of course since it is small, light and has superb image quality. It still has better colour, better dynamic range and is much cleaner in low-light/high-ISO/time-exposure situations when compared to the GH2. However, while I feel Fuji made an ideal choice for a fixed focal length camera (35mm equivalent), I definitely wanted an ultra-wide and a longer telephoto for some shooting situations and just couldn't bring myself to cover those focal lengths with one or more P&S cameras, which is what I had originally planned on doing.

Make no mistake, the GH2 has excellent image quality, but it simply is not quite up to the X100 with its substantially larger sensor, or the top end APS-C digital SLRs, like the Canon EOS-7D or Nikon D7000. That said, under normal to moderately low lighting conditions, the GH2 image quality can easily be on par with the likes of the X100 and EOS-7D, just not under really difficult (high) contrast or really dim lighting.

Anyway, my review will cover my impressions of the camera and lenses - please don't expect a super detailed review with menu screenshots and the like. As a teaser, here is a link to a gallery of images I recently shot with the GH2 and a Lensbaby Tilt-Transformer...

http://sublimephoto.com/exhibit/2011/0620_tilt_transformer/

Review Part 1 - Suitability and Lenses continues after the link...

Monday, June 27, 2011

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Hasselblad Bonus Cheque!

(Photo credit: August Bradley)

Hasselblad says "check", so being Canadian, you might not get all that excited. However if I say "cheque", does that perhaps get a little more interesting? How about a cheque amounting to 10% of the purchase price of a Hasselblad camera or digital back that you can then can spend on anything else at Beau Photo. Now are you excited? I'm thinking the answer might be... YES! Click on the above image to be taken to Hasselblad's info page for details on terms and conditions etc. You have until the end of July!

Friday, June 24, 2011

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X100: Firmware v1.10 has arrived!

Fujifilm Global: X100 Firmware Update Page

The long awaited major firmware update has arrived! A link to the appropriate page is below the above image, a photo of my own X100 that I took just before initiating the update. After a few minutes of playing around, I have to congratulate Fujifilm for carefully listening to user feedback with a responsiveness that I have rarely, if ever, seen from any other camera company. This is no subtle update: major changes to the operation of the camera have been made, and all this after a few months of end-user and reviewer feedback!

In particular, I want to mention image playback, which has been changed so dramatically that it has gone from being one of the most frustrating cameras I have ever used used in that regard, to very nearly the best! Not only can one still very quickly zoom in with a single button press, but also switch between info screens, to a blank "image only" view, also zoom in from the histogram/full-info view, switch to previous and next images in almost every possible mode and finally, the current mode you are in now sticks for good, until you go and change it yourself. Anyone who has spent any time with an X100 will be astonished at how dramatic and effective the changes are to image review and playback. Well done!

When it comes to shooting, all the annoying "automatic" mode changes, ISO changes etc. when switching between P/A/S/M modes, turning the power off, initiating playback, all those "...what the hell did the camera just do without me asking it to?!" quirks seem to be pretty much gone for good now. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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Epson Stylus Photo R3000 - in stock!


We finally received a shipment of Epson's latest R3000 printers. This all new desktop 13"x19" printer boasts much larger ink cartridges than the R2880 (over twice the capacity) and, similar to its larger cousins like the Pro 4880 or 4900, the cartridges are now installed in a separate compartment and not directly on the printhead. Unlike the R2880, the R3000 now allows loading of both the photo-black and matte-black inks for hassle free printing on either glossy or semi-gloss RC and fibre-based inkjet paper, as well as on matte fine-art or proofing papers too without having to switch out the black cartridge. The printer is also WiFi enabled and has Ethernet and USB 2.0 ports for connectivity.

The new print heads also have a low-friction ink repellant coating that should reduce the need for head cleanings, and with tiny 2 pL droplets, your photos will print with incredibly smoothness and essentially no visible dot pattern. Black & white images will render dead-neutral (if you so desire) under pretty much any light source and with the right paper, colour print longevity can be upwards of 100 years.

Specifications: Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Specifications Sheet

The price is $899 and we have a few in stock...

Friday, June 3, 2011

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Panasonic: GH2 is in stock!


It's a miracle! After being on order since December 2010, we finally received a shipment of GH2 bodies! We now have a few, both a body and a kit with the video-optimized 14-140mm stabilized zoom.

In addition, our rental dept. now has numerous Panasonic items for rent, including the GH2 kit with the 14-140mm, a 7-14mm f/4 ultra-wide zoom, a 14mm f/2.5 pancake prime, the 20mm f/1.7 pancake and lastly, the excellent 100-300mm f/4-5.6 OIS zoom.

I have spent a bit of time shooting with the GH2 system now, and plan to do so a little more over the next couple of weeks. Watch for a hands-on review by the time our next newsletter hits at the beginning of July.
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X100: DigiPower Travel Charger

DigiPower TC-55F Charger compared to Fujifilm's X100 Charger

While Fujifilm's charger that is included with the X100 works great, it can be a bit of a pain to travel with. First off, looking at the above picture, you will see the piece of white "gaffer" tape on it. That tape is on my charger to keep the little plastic insert from getting lost. Without this insert, the NP-95 battery will not stay in place for charging and this little bit is not very securely fastened and pops off quite easily. Secondly, have a look at that power cord, it's huge! And it is stiff. Total overkill and it takes up a lot of extra of room when packing. Most chargers that I have, for all the different cameras I own, have little fold-out prongs and are very convenient to pack when traveling.

After a bit of searching, I found a Fuji compatible DigiPower charger available from one of our suppliers and after bringing one in for testing, I decided to order a few for stock here at Beau. I bought one for myself too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

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X100: Low-light focus and a film set...

Actresses Bernadeta Wrobel and Julia Dordel in the lab. (f/2.8 - ISO 1600)

Note: Before I get started, some of you might be wondering where the heck my X100 review is, the one I said I was working on quite some time back already? Well I've been super busy, one of the things taking my time recently being the work on this film set for example. I have decided to write about the X100 piecemeal, with today's instalment covering low-light focusing. So no big review, rather a bunch of relevant observations, praises and even some criticisms and suggestions spread out over numerous blog entries. Starting here...

Recently I worked on set with my Fujifilm X100, shooting stills during the filming of several episodes of a production called Libelle The Series, the brainchild of my friend Julia Dordel, producer, actress and PhD holder. If you're interested, see page 8 of UBC's Branchlines publication for an article on this project. Note that this production started out being called "Dragonfly The Series", but due to a naming conflict it was changed to Libelle, the German word for dragonfly.

The X100 was ideal for this shoot since it is super quiet, especially when a filter is mounted as it deadens the already quiet camera even more. It also performs extremely well in low light and high ISO settings with outstanding image quality and amazingly effective auto white-balance. The X100 is even quieter than a standard DSLR in a sound-proofing enclosure (a camera blimp), so I had way more freedom to shoot close in and intimate with the action, without having to worry about camera sounds being picked up by the microphones while filming.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

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Fujifilm X100 Infrared Gallery

(click on image to view gallery)

I wandered around after work, giving the X100 a real workout with an IR filter (Hoya R72). Note that even at ISO 6400, the X100 is not all that grainy. The vast majority of the graininess you will see has been added by me. Personally I love the look of grainy and "glowy" IR film, however some might prefer less grain. Heck, maybe even I will too at some point, but for now, I am personally liking the look. Admittedly, when downsized the grain looks more like noise and less like "film grain", but at the full image size the grain is a little more clumpy and "realistic" looking.

More info on how the images were shot and processed is at the start of the gallery and also see my previous posting on IR with the X100 here...

Lastly, you'll note some new links on the thumbnails in the image gallery, in the form of little "globe" icons. Clicking there will take you to an overview map of where the photo was shot, then clicking on the GPS coordinates below the overview map will open a new Google Maps page where you can zoom in, poan around etc. The tracklog was recorded with a Qstarz BT-Q1000XT recorder and GPS metadata was added in Adobe Lightroom as per a previous article. The accuracy seems good to a radius of about 10-50 feet I'd say.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

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Hasselblad H4D-60 Gallery

(click on image to open gallery)

As a followup to my posting from March 27th, after the Hasselblad Event, I have finally had time to edit the 20 or so photos I wanted to put in a gallery. There are 100% crops available so you can see the amazing resolution of the 60 megapixel H4D-60, coupled with Hasselblad's excellent lenses. Please read the notes in the gallery for further shooting info.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

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Infrared with the Fujifilm X100


Ever since the X100 was announced, I was curious about its ability to possibly shoot infrared. With a large, highly sensitive APS-C sized sensor promising clean high ISO, a contrast-detect AF system that should allow for focusing in IR light without any manual focus offset or camera recalibration, and its hybrid viewfinder that should allow one to either see "through" a near-opaque IR filter with the EVF, or use its OVF for direct viewing, I figured it had a chance.

I even emailed Fujifilm and mentioned how cool it would be if they made a special edition IR-enabled X100 since they are pretty much the only company that has ever made specialty IR/UV enabled digital cameras. They could leave the standard IR-blocking filter off the sensor and then replace the internal switchable ND filter with an IR blocking filter instead, similar to a Tiffen Hot-Mirror filter.  Then one could shoot standard colour images with the "ND" filter in place, now actually an IR blocking filter.  Then to shoot digital IR, just turn off the "ND" and attach the visible light blocking filter of choice, such as a Hoya R72 or a B+W 093. One could then even do even more exotic UV photography with an appropriate filter... presuming that the Fujinon lens will "sort of" focus UV light... not an easy task actually. For sharply focused UV images, one needs very exotic glass, rare and expensive.

Friday, April 15, 2011

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Fearless Road Warriors...


Our fearless band of road warriors (Ken "The Killer" Shymka, Simon "Shrapnel" Burford and Carol "The Crusader" Polloni) are off to the Banff PPOC Convention in their battlewagon... a white Dodge Caravan rental. They are armed to the teeth with lethal camera equipment, ready to battle psychotic drivers, zombies and other nefarious camera stores. Well okay, maybe not zombies... and I'm exaggerating about the other stores too. In any case, I wish them well on their journey!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

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Finally... time with a production Fujifilm X100!

(Click on image to visit gallery)

I have finally been able to shoot with a full production level X100 and now I can post images without any restrictions from Fujifilm. This production camera does have noticeably better image quality than the prototype I used before. Amazingly enough, its lens is even sharper (edge-to-edge) and low-light/high-ISO shooting seems substantially improved too. While still visible, I feel that the somewhat unusual (for a pro-level camera anyway) off-axis "bright light source flare", that can occasionally show up in night photos, is definitely reduced on the production camera as well.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

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Remembering...

Portrait - 2002
Ingrid Katharina Mander 
May 17, 1929 - April 7, 2008

My mother passed away three years ago today, after her seven year long struggle with cancer. In some ways it feels like a lot longer ago, in other ways, it's as though it just happened last week. This blog posting is in remembrance of her. I won't say much other than give you a link to the memorial page on my website and a link to my blog entry where her sister Elisabeth, my father and I scattered her ashes off the coast of Hawaii near Milolii.

If you look at the image gallery on the Hawaii blog page, the images you see near the end are of the white coral memorial we made for her in the lava near Milolii.  Through the wizardry of Google, you can see exactly where that lava memorial is...

Coral on Lava Memorial: Google Maps Link  or  Google Earth Link (KMZ File download)

I will finish with this: one of the things I miss most about my mother, something that still occurs on a regular basis, happens when I come back after a successful day of photography. My mother used to love photography and was especially enthusiastic about my own work in later years. I would come back from a trip, or just from taking some photos around town here, and I would look forward to sending her a link to an image gallery like this, or years earlier, going over for a visit with my slides and a slide projector. She would always look at my work and praise it when she thought it was good, or critique it honestly when she didn't.

Anyway, it still happens to me that I come back from a day of shooting, and suddenly realize I am subconsciously looking forward to showing her the photos I took.

Oh.

Unfortunately, I can't do that anymore...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

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Geotagging inside Adobe Lightroom...

Lightroom Geotagging plugin in action (click image for larger view)

One thing I am personally surprised at, is how few camera manufacturers put built-in GPS modules in their cameras.  There are a handful of P&S models from a few companies, but the only DSLR I can think of is a recent Sony model. Nowadays, I expect a GPS chipset would likely cost a company $10 or less to include in their camera - heck, just about every cellphone made in recent years has one, even inexpensive ones and not just high end smart-phones. Some companies, such as Nikon with their GP-1 and Hasselblad with their GIL GPS receiver have some reasonably convenient add on modules for their cameras that will automatically geotag your images, but why not include these in all cameras?!

Friday, April 1, 2011

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Phase One Workshops: April 13th


For more information see:
Phase One Event Details - April 13th (85KB PDF)
Food and Fashion Shoot Details - April 13th (410KB PDF)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

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They're here...


We are in the process of calling our pre-order customers. So far, no sign of the accessories, although we do have some of the spare Li-Ion battery packs in stock already. Sadly, no extra cameras yet though... and I won't be getting mine yet since "real" customers have to come first!  I will have to wait until the next shipment unfortunately... bummer.

UPDATE: my mistake... unbeknownst to me, we did get a handful of filter-ring/hoods in (not enough to cover pre-orders), however not many... and the rest are backordered for now.  Definitely no leather cases yet unfortunately.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

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Hasselblad Solutions Event wrap-up...

Burrard Inlet from Burnaby Mountain - Hasselblad H4D-60
(click image for a 2800 pixel wide, 100% crop)

The Hasselblad event last Thursday was a success.  First and foremost, I want to thank Marc Koegel, Wayne Hoecherl and everyone at Vancouver Photo Workshops for generously hosting our Hasselblad event!
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Wicked Promo from Phase One!

Phase One 645DF with IQ back
This one is very short, but very sweet, should you be wanting to get into the Phase One system! In the (slightly edited) words of the Canadian Phase One distributor...

We have a sale that is going from Monday, March 21st to Thursday, March 31st. It's a very short promo.

Trade in H or V series Cameras and lenses and save 50% off the selling prices of these items with the purchase of a back or upgrade. The competitive upgrade for Leaf, Hasselblad, Imacon etc. also works here.

If you can believe it - normally $5500 for a 645DF and 80mm Schneider leaf shutter lens, trade an old 500CM with an 80mm lens and get the Phase One DF kit for only $2750. Remember that there also has to be a digital back as a part of this. Lenses can be traded for an equivalent lens and saves 50% as well.

It's a blitz. The mechanical Hasselblad community is particularly excited about this one! This gives them way more for the old gear than it's worth used!


So the upshot of this, is if you are wanting to buy into a Phase One digital back, and were thinking of putting it on an older Hasselblad, now you can get an extremely generous trade-in for your old body and step up to a modern autofocus 645DF system from Phase One! Call us for more details...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

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X100: First shipment arriving soon!


After Fujifilm requested that I take down my image gallery with photos I had shot with a preproduction X100, I decided to hold off on a detailed review. Basically I found out that the camera I had did not have a final quality lens, nor did it have a final sensor, nor did it even have a final quality body as far as some of the external controls went! Initially our local Fuji rep was not aware of how far from final this unit was, since he had okay'd my initial gallery posting.  In any case, a detailed review of such a non-production camera would have been unfair and not representative of what the final X100 will be like.

However, I have found out that our initial shipment (which won't cover all the backorders) will be sent out to us at Beau Photo next week, so I will have many happy customers.  Fuji Canada just received their initial shipment from Japan! However, since the shipment does not quite cover our pre-orders, sadly I won't be getting mine just yet. I am hoping that, with luck, I may have a generous customer, who might let me shoot some tests with a production X100 though, so hopefully a review of a final camera will be forthcoming within the next two weeks.

The preproduction camera I shot with did have final v1.0 firmware loaded, so I may try to write up some further thoughts on its operation (mostly very good with only a few niggling quirks) however I may also hold off until the final camera test. Not sure yet since the next week will be very busy with other commitments.

Lastly, while many will be happy that the first X100 shipment made it out of Japan before the recent earthquake/tsunami disaster, I'm sure everyone's hearts go out to all those people stricken by the horrible events there. People there need to focus on family, friends and rebuilding their lives before going back to work, building more cameras. One way we can help out, is by donating to those in need. The Canadian Red Cross would be a good place to do so and has information on how to give to those in Japan urgently needing assistance...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

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March 24th: Hasselblad Solutions Event


NOTE: The event is FREE, but registration is required: http://www.regonline.com/HSS_BC

Phocus Mobile is a really sweet solution when shooting in the studio. You can control your camera and even view captured images with your Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Imagine handing a commercial client an iPad so they can sit back, relax, and watch how your shoot progresses, rate images, zoom in on details and more. No more hovering over your shoulder, peering at the LCD on the back of your camera and getting in your way!

Say you have a complicated lighting setup, and you are walking around a large set, adjusting lighting ratios or repositioning your strobes. Rather than walk all the way back to your camera or computer to take another test shot, just pull the iPhone out of your pocket, shoot and preview an image to see your changes, right on the spot using the awesome "Retina" display on your iPhone 4. Cool!
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New Rebates for March

March brings some new rebates from Canon, Lexar and Nikon. I am only going to highlight a few choice ones here.  Call for all the details...

Canon
EOS-60D Body & Kits - $50

Lexar
32GB Professional 400x CF - $24

Nikon
D7000 Body & Kits - $50
(the D7000 qualifies for an additional $50 rebate in a dual lens configuration as mentioned below)

Dual Lens Kits with D3100, D90, D7000, D300S: Get a $50 rebate when buying an AF-S DX VR 55-200mm, AF-S DX VR 55-300mm or AF-S VR 70-300mm with any of the above mentioned bodies and any additional Nikkor lens.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

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ImageQuest Winner!


Drum roll please....the winner of the ImageQuest registration package is Chris Mara from Coquitlam! Congratulations Chris! We look forward to meeting you at the convention.

Thank you all for entering the contest. Stay tuned on Beau Photo's social network sites for any further contests and information on all things photographic.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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WPPI Day 2 Report

The new Phase One IQ180 on a 645DF body

The highlight of the day for me was dropping by the Phase One booth and handling a brand new IQ180 medium format digital back. What a gorgeous screen! It is most definitely the best rear LCD I have ever seen on any camera and the touch functionality is very well done. In addition, the back really must have an enormous amount of CPU horsepower as it was handling the huge 80 megapixel files with ease. Zoom-in delays were minimal and scrolling and selecting images was smooth and intuitive.  The screen mode you see above was definitely my favourite as one could see the image, a histogram and a blown-highlight preview screen at a glance, and all it took was a tap on the small histogram to pull up a huge and very readable full-screen RGBL histogram.  Double tap on the image, and it goes right to a 100% view zoom which you can then pan around. Not visible on this screen, is when you single tap the image, a little zoom slider appears on the left, and you can drag a virtual zoom control up and down to control magnification. Very fluid zooming as well and, as mentioned already, overall very impressive performance considering the file size it was having to deal with.
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WPPI Day 1: Notes from the show floor...

New WiebeTech Dual-Bay 2.5" RAID Enclosure

Today was the first day of the WPPI trade show.  While not a huge as some PMA shows I've attended in the past, there were still an impressive number of vendors to see.

First up, a photo of a slick new WiebeTech portable RAID enclosure that uses two 2.5" laptop drives rather than the full size 3.5" desktop drives.  This unit can be configured as a RAID 0 or 1 and packs impressive performance and flexibility in such a small form-factor.  Since we sell WiebeTech drive enclosures at Beau Photo, we may decide to stock this nice little bit of kit. For a few more items of note, read on...

Monday, February 21, 2011

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Las Vegas! Pre-WPPI walkabout...


Well, the day before attending the WPPI trade show, the Beau Photo gang wandered around Las Vegas. The weather was beautiful and although not hot, it was a fair bit warmer than when we left Vancouver in the morning!

As usual Las Vegas was over-the-top, but fun to walk around and photograph.  Here are a few more shots...

Friday, February 18, 2011

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NEW! Phase One IQ Backs


Back in late January, Phase One announced an awesome new series of digital backs, the 40MP IQ140, the 60MP IQ160 and 80MP IQ180. Click on the names to download the respective PDF datasheets. The IQ backs represent the biggest leap in digital back functionality that I have seen in a very long time.  This is no subtle warming over, rather Phase One has given us a completely new system with an innovative user interface and stunning hardware.

The most obvious change is the new high resolution (290ppi - 1.15 megapixel) 3.2" multi-touch LCD on the back. This may sound familiar to you since it is apparently very similar to the display used on the iPhone 4, so it should provide stunning clarity, accurate colour balance and very intuitive touch-screen operation of the camera.  This is clearly a huge step up from Phase One's previous LCD screen and indeed a huge step up over anybody else's display as well! In addition, Phase One has kept the traditional 4-button interface as well for those familiar with that, or for easier operation while wearing gloves.
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Fujifilm FinePix X100: Hands on!


Last week, the local Fuji rep was kind enough to bring by a preproduction sample of the highly anticipated Fujifilm FinePix X100 (thanks Gord!) and I decided to take a few photos of it with one of the Fuji cameras I already own, a FinePix S100fs. The new X100 is "rangefinder style" digital camera and has been the talk of the camera world since its introduction at Photokina in the fall of 2010. As you can clearly see, it has very distinguished "retro" styling but in this case, it is not just retro for the sake of being retro, rather there are some true innovations and it has some carefully thought out ergonomics too. For a closer look at this beautiful camera, feel free to click on the images as well...